Economic Opportunity Challenge

Skills for Chicagoland's Future

Skills for America's Future: Changing Lives Through a Jobs-First Model

Drive economic mobility for over 10,000 low income families in 17 cities by scaling the proven Skills jobs-first model, with a focus on marginalized communities.

Competition Participation
Economic Opportunity Challenge
Workforce development
Current Work Location(s):
  • Rhode Island, United States
  • Illinois, United States
  • New York, United States
  • Michigan, United States
  • Massachusetts, United States
  • Colorado, United States
Priority Populations:
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Ex-offenders
  • At-risk youth
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
  • 8. Decent work and economic growth
  • 10. Reduced inequalities

Executive Summary:

The US jobless rate is 3.6%, yet unemployment does not affect zip codes equally. Nationally, marginalized communities experience unemployment at rates of 7-20% and higher poverty due to lacking access to a network, quality jobs, and career pathways. Using a unique jobs-first model, and direct engagement with executive business leaders, Skills staff consult with employers to understand their hiring demands, secure formal commitments to hire, and develop career pathway programs. The Skills model, designed and launched at Skills for Chicagoland’s Future (SCF) in 2012 and successfully replicated at Skills for Rhode Island’s Future (SRIF) in 2016, has placed over 9,000 low-income individuals into jobs. By intentionally scaling expansion in marginalized communities, SCF will replicate the model in 17 sites nationally, putting an additional 10,325 low-income individuals into meaningful employment in the next five years, resulting in an estimated $235MM in new income and increased economic mobility.

Organization Details
Lead Organization

Skills for Chicagoland's Future

Organization Headquarters
Illinois, United States
Organization ID
Annual Operating Budget
$5.1 to 10 Million
Number of Full-time Employees
26 to 50

Charity, fund, non-governmental organization, religious institution, school, or other entity